On Life and Music

John Denver was a talented musician, a hero in the folk music realm. If he had one musical weakness, though, it was this: he never wrote a song in a minor key. He always wanted to write upbeat music, the kind that makes people smile. But, music, like life, is more complex than that. It is not all major keys and well-timed resolutions. It is not all sunshine on our shoulders and Rocky Mountain highs. But, it is not, for that reason, any less beautiful.

I hail from a generation of spoiled brats. We have faced no Great Depression or World War. We have not stood in bread lines or struggled under the oppression of slavery. We have grown up to believe that life is like a movie, or an 80s sitcom where the worst that should happen is that Mike reads Carol’s diary and then gets a stern but compassionate lecture from Mr. and Mrs. Seaver. When life gets worse than that, or doesn’t resolve, or doesn’t go our way we assume that our song is a train-wreck.

We treat life the way John Denver wrote music: always trying to be happy, and not satisfied with anything less more. Good music, though, is much more complicated than that, much more varied and intense. And, a good life is not one that always resolves, or that is full of promotions, vacations, and early retirement. Rather, a good life is full of patience, kindness, joy, sacrifice, and love–all of the best qualities that all require suffering, testing, and heartache to grow.

A good life is like a good piece of music, a blend of drama, rest, tension, sadness, and joy skillfully woven into layers so intricate and connected that it is not until the end that such a work is completely understood and appreciated. There is, indeed, reason behind the chaos, and He is an excellent composer.

It is our job to discover this as quickly as possible, and get in time with Him. The symphony plays on, with or without us, but it is so much more beautiful when we are in tune.

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3 thoughts on “On Life and Music

  1. John Denver was LJ’s favorite singer when we were dating. I learned to sing/play several of his songs to impress her. Apparently it worked. 31 year later we are still on a Rocky Mountain High!

    Since hitting the big 5-0, I find my self looking back more & more. There were some tremendous “lows” in our lives. The death of a child, the death of our brother-in-law, the loss of our home, the death of my mother. Each of these has left a permanent scar on what we call our life.

    However, it is true that “whatever doesn’t kill you, does make you stronger”. I am what I am because of these valleys. Not that I would wish the same on anyone. But how can you appreciate the mountains if you have never been in a valley?

    Others only see the shell that we project. If they truly knew what it took to get to this point in life, they would be astounded!

    LM

    • I was just talking to Laura the other day about how John Denver got high on everything……sunshine on his shoulders and elevated altitude…

      I like John Denver, and I, too, learned to play many of his songs. Not to impress Sara, though.

      I think what you mentioned about seeing past the shell is one of the most important Christian disciplines. We have to recognize that there is more beneath the surface of other people. Otherwise we will be too quick to judge the cover.

  2. Pingback: Me :-)

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